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Review: Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Reverend Billy is angry. He is angry about the state of the world. He is angry about the people in power. He is angry about religion being misused and abused. He has surrounded himself with a talented choir, some fine musicians, a message, and he is preaching.

He normally preaches, with his congregation in New York, taking the message of tolerance and understanding to where it is most needed. The fifth floor public gardens in Trump Towers.

As part of a short UK tour, Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir played Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery as part of the Fierce Festival.

It is only one of many of the shows that are making important – but controversial – points about issues that are facing the world at the moment, but it is the colour and passion of that sets this part-spoof, part-deadly serious character study above the average.

Reverend Billy describes himself as right-wing, but even he is despairing of the Trump administration. He feels that the US leader is not the enemy, more of a wake up call to the rest of the world, to seek out the values that connect us all, to take a bit more time for each other, to put the human back into humanity.

The choir are all very talented musicians, both as soloists and as an ensemble, using little more than the propulsion provided by a drum kit and sanctified piano chords to get their points across in songs that tackle such topics as global warming, equal rights, and how consumerism is killing the world, very slowly.

This was an entertaining way to spend an hour, with some important points being made in a way that didn’t feel hectoring.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.


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